Estate agents re-open. What does the new ‘normal’ look like in the property industry?

Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2020

Following the recent government announcement, we are pleased to announce that Hockeys Estate Agents is fully operational, albeit with some refinements to our services to ensure everybody remains safe. Tours, viewings and valuations are all available. Learn more about the changes to our services on this page, or read earlier announcements here.

What has changed?

Following the announcement on Sunday from Boris Johnson our agents were a little disappointed not to be returning to work, with a highly social job like ours it has become very strange being so isolated away from our teams and not meeting people. Like other retailers, at least the end looked in sight as we could finally open on the 1st June.

Then a change of policy came in late on Tuesday night to say that the property industry can resume as of yesterday, it pretty much blind-sided everyone in the property industry from surveyors, to solicitors, removals, and us estate agents.

So, the mad scramble ensues to get our many little home businesses merged and back into our high street offices, the phone system needs reprogramming and diverting, the computers need to be installed, furloughed staff can come out of their COVID-19 hibernation, our offices needs to be safe for staff and clients alike, we need PPE, hand washing stations, and socially distanced office set-ups, and as of today viewings and valuations are thankfully coming out of our ears. But we need to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and clients, so to give you piece of mind here is what we are implementing.

Virtual Tours

  • We think that buyers will be choosy with the houses they travel to view which is why we are rolling out virtual tours on all of our properties, to receive better quality viewings from buyers that have already seen your property. This is a process we started even before lockdown and invested in professional equipment and training during lockdown, an example can be found here.

Accompanied Viewings

  • Our staff will have PPE, and we will take gloves for the viewers to wear during the visit.
  • We will be observing social distancing during the viewing at all times.
  • Vendors will not be able to be present to keep to social distancing guidance.
  • If you or anyone in your family is ill or self-isolating then please do let us know as we will be unable to carry out viewings.
  • If we expect a viewer is unwell we will not arrange the viewing.
  • We will ask no more than two viewers to be present at any viewing.
  • We will open windows and doors on the viewing to allow air flow and close on departure.
  • Applicants will be respectfully requested not to open cupboards or turn on lights, the agent will do this.
  • Viewings will be kept as close as possible to within 15 minutes.

Vendor viewings

  • If you have no gloves to give to viewers, then it is OK to ask them to sanitize or wash hands.
  • Do not allow the viewers to open any cupboards or turn on lights. You can reduce this by turning on all lights before the viewing. If a viewer does touch anything then please ensure that area is cleaned afterwards.
  • Open doors and windows to allow for airflow.
  • Observe social distancing during the viewing at all times.
  • Please wash your hands after the viewing.
  • We will ask no more than two viewers to be present at any viewing.

Valuations

  • We will be wearing gloves and socially distancing, we have masks available if this proves difficult in some properties.

Our offices

  • As our offices have been empty for sometime then they are perfectly safe going back into them.
  • We will allow one customer in the office at a time.
  • Some staff members will remain remote working to comply with social distancing in the offices.
  • We have somewhere to sanitise your hands as you come into the office and as you leave.

Our clients have been sent this list today to ensure they are confident that our company treats both their and our staff safety very seriously. We also thought this guide may be of interest to new sellers, who are concerned about putting their home on the market currently due to safety.

We hope by Monday to be fully up and running, so we are business as normal with the recommended safety measures in place.